As a musician, Tim Westergren marched to his own beat. Now, as an entrepreneur, he's creating a beat that others are rushing to follow. As founder of Pandora, a personalized internet radio service based in Oakland, California, Westergren, 43, has struck a chord that resonates with its more than 15 million registered users and expects to bring in nearly $25 million this year.
At pandora.com, users create their own internet radio stations by simply selecting a song or artist. Pandora then studies approximately 400 musical attributes of each user's favorite music and automatically creates an ongoing playlist of other music featuring the same qualities.
The service continues to grow exponentially, especially since the launch of the iPhone 3G, which offers Pandora as an application. Equally noteworthy is the fact that approximately 70 percent of the 60,000 artists currently featured on Pandora are independent musicians. Says Westergren, whose site helps unknown artists get noticed, "I have long had a personal interest in the plight of the working musician."